ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, Va. – Second-degree murder charges were dropped against Trabion Tynes after he was accused of his father's cold case murder.
In September 2017 authorities announced an arrest in a 13-year-old case: 44-year-old Tynes was accused of killing his father, Johnnie Tynes, Sr.
After his arrest ,News 3 spoke to people who are related to both the suspect and the victim and each person we spoke to said they were stunned. Trabion’s mother, Gloria Tynes, said authorities have the wrong man.
"I know he loved his father," Gloria said. "They were very, very close and I don't believe that he did that. They need to stop arresting him over and over again."
Tynes was originally charged with the murder in 2005, but the Commonwealth's Attorney later dropped all charges against him. His family said he was accused a second time by authorities and even spent three months in jail at one point, but the Commonwealth’s Attorney dropped the second charges a few years ago.
But Thursday, officials said a key witness had medical issues and was also reluctant to come forward, so the charges were nolle prossed. They said they can't move forward without her testimony and said they are frustrated.
"There were a lot of people in 2004 and 2005 that were really reluctant to talk to investigators, but for some reason now they're willing to come forward and talk to us," said Lt. Tommy Potter with the Isle of Wight County Sheriff's Office.
The body of Johnnie Tynes, Sr. was found in his trailer on Tyler's Beach Road in the Rushmere area of the county in June 2004. His death was ultimately ruled a homicide due to blunt force trauma to the head. Authorities describe the killing as brutal.
News 3 spoke to his Trabion Tynes in 2013 when he denied any wrongdoing.
"That wasn't just my father, that was my friend," Trabion said. "You know, that's what people forget. That was my friend."
He told us then he wanted the real killer to be found.
"It doesn't bring him back. It just closes the case so that we know who did it. But he's gone, so [we] just got to move on," he said.
Now his family is in shock.
"It's just really sad," said cousin Lennika Charity. "Just a horrible situation."
Tynes was recently released from Western Tidewater Regional Jail, where he had been held for months.
His family said when he was first arrested that he suffers from serious health problems and is the father of six children.
His mother said the first thing he did Wednesday when he got home was go to church. She said the family is planning a big celebration.